“Facility-Level Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Local Socio-Political Factors in the United States” by Dr. Glen W. S. Dowell
Management and Strategy Seminar
Dr. Glen W. S. Dowell
Area Coordinator, Management & Organizations Group
Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industrial facilities in the U.S. are important contributors to climate change, but are not subject to federal regulations restricting emissions. However, in the absence of such regulation, major emitters have been required to disclose their emissions through the US Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) since 2010. Like the longstanding US Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program, the GHGRP is a mandatory disclosure program that relies on such disclosure to provide incentives for performance improvements. In the absence of regulatory limits, we expect community and firm-level factors to influence corporate GHG emissions significantly. Because of the dispersed nature of climate externalities, we expect local socioeconomic and community demographic factors to be less influential than climate change beliefs and corporate structure in predicting emissions. Using the first four years of the GHGRP program data (2010-2013), we test the impact of local and corporate factors on GHG emissions. Consistent with our hypotheses, we find that environmental justice factors are not significant predictors of GHG emissions. In addition, we find that GHG emissions are significantly lower when local citizens near the facility itself or the facility’s corporate headquarters are more convinced climate change is happening and requires action.